Automatic String Instruments

Player reed organ “Aeolian Orchestrelle”

    Player reed organ “Aeolian Orchestrelle”

    USA, New York


    The Aeolian Company

    Wood, metal, leather; carpentry and mechanical works, casting, turning

    185 x 65 x 166 cm, 160 kg

    Marks: on the clap inner side: “Æolian Orrhestrelle”, “JAMES SMITH & SON / SOLE AGENTS/ LIVERPOOL & SOUTHPORT/ MUSIO SELLES LIMITE”


    Harmonium in vertical polished mahogany case, with protruding keyboard on the key bottom support, supported by consoles in the form of chiselled columns with flutes and ionic capitols. Consoles stand on protruding feet with metal wheels. Two wide pedals are in the base wooden bar center, pressing on which, the performer actuates the bellows supplying organ systems with compressed air. Piano type keyboard has a range of six octaves. Seventeen register switches in the form of round grips are on the key stop rail, as well as rewind knob, tempo control and mode switch - manual and automatic. All cranks have names in Gothic print. The fifty-key keyboard is closed with the tricuspid fallboard hinge. The names of the instrument “Æolian Orrhestrelle” and the Trading house are written on its internal surface. Two bass registers control flaps are beneath the key bottom support, the performer moves them with his knees. Rectangular acoustic windows, in the form of paneled openwork lattice, tightened inside with fabric are in the façade shield decorated with pilasters. Central window sliding lattice closes the tape drive mechanism compartment with the take-up reel, tracker bar with fifty-eight apertures. The tempo controller with rectangular scale and indicator is in front of the take-up reel. Chiselled cannulated columns with ionic capitals, supporting carved fluted cornice are on the front panel sides. The case top side is tightened with fabric. The source of musical sounds are reeds that comprise the registers. Register switches allow getting a variety of tones that imitates the sound of wind instruments. A musical composition can be performed either by organist or played automatically. If this is the case, paper music roll with the encoded musical composition is put in the tape drive mechanism and automatic mode turns on. Harmonium plays the extended range paper music rolls for 58 tunes. Red expression line is applied on the roll, which serves as a notice for a performer. Music media: paper music roll.